Scratch Cougar



Male Western Cougar

Date of Birth: 3/1/77       (yes, that really does say 1977) Died Jan. 2007

Scratch came to Big Cat Rescue with the understanding that he would soon die here. He is a very old, 230 pound Cougar and got his name because he likes to be scratched. He was very ill when he arrived and his owners said they did not want to watch him die.  At his old age, their vet had told them this was the end of the line for Scratch.  We couldn’t stand to see him sick and treated him with fluids and antibiotics and he quickly recovered.  He lived with us for many more years and died as the oldest cougar in recorded history.


“Everyone remarks how great it is that we spend our time making the lives of our cats better. On the contrary, Scratch has enriched my life far more than I could possibly enrich his.  I am so grateful that he picked me as his favorite person.  Now I am trying my best to make him happy and comfortable as he heads towards the Rainbow Bridge.  Though the end is near, he still has his sweet demeanor.  As soon as he sees me, he comes over to the edge of his cage, lies down and starts purring.  We are always told that cats aren’t capable of loving us, but I truly believe that Scratch understands how much I love him and reciprocates.  He doesn’t come over to me because I give him food; he simply enjoys being next to me.


And now, just two months shy of his 30th birthday, Scratch is gone.  He has lived far longer than any other cougar in known history.  He was a very special cat and will be missed by so many. R.I.P., buddy”………Matt, Senior Volunteer Keeper
“I was devastated by the loss of Scratch. I guess old guys relate. The night I learned of his death, I wrote a special musical piece that I have named ‘Elegy for a Special Lion- Scratch.’  (It is the music you hear playing now)  Everyone deals with grief in his or her own way. This is how I do it. It is very sad, but it gives me comfort. Scratch always responded when I was near his enclosure, except on early Saturday mornings. I told everyone he had the right to sleep in. He would come out for many of my tours but he would always relieve himself before he settled down. I suggested to my tour that might be an editorial”….Denny, Senior Volunteer Partner
“I think, by the time I arrived at BCR, Scratch was pretty much set on paying attention to the Keeper he loved best – Matt.  Watching them together was really like father and son, even though Scratch was the senior… well, maybe that is what I was seeing.  I do remember all the exasperated looks Scratch would give me when I finally awakened him each Saturday morning.  It was if to say, please can’t you see I am sleeping and your constant calling my name is terribly annoying”…Lisa, Volunteer Keeper

“Scratch was an amazing old fellow, full of spirit right to the end. He and I had a special relationship as predator and prey. He would pick me out and ‘lock on target’ as I came by.  Apparently, being the smallest adult around made me an attractive candidate for an older cat who thought the full sized adults would just be too much trouble.  He was serious, but I was only playing the part. When I would stand behind a tree, he would be right there watching whichever direction I would peek out from. Even to his last few days, he would pick up his head from slumber and follow with those beautiful predatory eyes. The relationship between predator and prey is a love of sorts. It is said that there is spiritual agreement between the two in that moment before the kill. Although a slayer, they are innocent; only fulfilling the role assigned to them by the Gods in the unceasing renewal of life and death. I have been so privileged by knowing Scratch”….Beth, Volunteer Keeper
“Scratch was the perfect angel.  Not once did I ever see a mean look from Scratch – not once.  He always looked so beautiful – always so perfect.  My friend Barbara and I joked that Scratch must have had plastic surgery to look this beautiful.  He was an inspiration to me and showed me such respect.  He was the king of all the cougars.  My friend Julie said, ‘you have to remember them and the way they made you feel – so happy.’  I certainly will, but I can’t help missing them and feeling sad without them.  I still hear that special purr, I still see Squeak on top of his den and I still see Scratch sunbathing near his logs.  These are happy memories engraved in my mind FOREVER”….Marie, Volunteer Keeper
“When I give a tour at BCR, I have always told the groups that they will see three things on my tour that they will see nowhere else in the world.  Scratch was one of those three things – the oldest living cougar in recorded history. Now I must say, ’You will see two things here at BCR that you will see nowhere else in the world’ and I always still think of Scratch – and I feel sad.  As a Partner, I didn’t clean his cage or feed him, but I was always so appreciative of he and Squeaker.  They were two beautiful cougars who would always be out for my tours, even though they didn’t really know me”…….Pat, Senior Volunteer Partner
“Scratch was already an old man when I met him, but I was fortunate for everyday that I knew him. Every move for him was an effort and most mornings he slept in. When I was fortunate enough to be around during his sunning hours, he always made an effort to acknowledge me, and my tour groups. If we took the time to say hello, he never failed to get his strength behind him and come and return the gesture. And we’re not supposed to admit this, but I will, when I (and I think most of us) would go out to take enrichment to the cougars, we always had to bring a bloodsicle for Scratch, it was his favorite”….. Tiffany, Senior Volunteer Keeper
“When I think of Scratch, I remember him most at feeding time. I will always remember how many people he amazed during his long tenure on the feeding tour and how it was nearly impossible to pass by his enclosure during feeding without treating him to an extra chicken neck. I also remember that no matter how old Scratch got, his howdy-squeak always sounded young and cheerful. I will miss him”…..Anissa, Senior Volunteer Keeper

Scratch the oldest cougar

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